American offering double miles and under $600 fares on their new route to Manaus, Brazil

American recently started service between Miami and Manaus, Brazil, and is offering double AAdvantage miles on the route until December 15, 2012. Registration is required here using promotion code MAO2X.

Manaus is in Northern Brazil and the gateway to the Amazon. So I’m not sure how interesting of a destination it is for a visit of a couple of days, though if you’re thinking of going to the Amazon this is a great gateway. It’s also worth noting that if you’re traveling on a US passport you’ll need a visa for Brazil. Fortunately I have a German passport, which has saved me more time and money than I can count.

The downside of the new route is that it’s operated by a 737. Since this flight is to Brazil you don’t get complimentary upgrades as an Executive Platinum member, so if you choose to upgrade you’ll have to use miles or a systemwide upgrade. That really sucks for an upgrade on a 5+ flight on a 737. As a point of reference the flight between Miami and Manaus is 2,402 miles in each direction, so with the double miles that’s 9,608 miles roundtrip. If you’re a Platinum or Executive Platinum member that’s 14,412 miles roundtrip.

On the plus side American has decent roundtrip fares of under $600 to Manaus from many points in the US. While I don’t think this is good enough to be a mileage run, from the west coast this does translate to quite a few miles. For example I see the following fare:

For $557.72 you’d earn 23,780 redeemable miles as a Platinum/Executive Platinum member. If you have any interest in visiting Manaus I’d say that’s a pretty “justifiable” deal. If it’s just a mileage run I’d say it’s not worth it between the potential visa costs, the 737 on the flight to Brazil, etc.

(Tip of the hat to AAdvantage Geek)

Comments

  1. Stupid question: If I’m doing a MR, why would I care about getting a visa if all I’m doing is coming back on the same plane? Not trying to be snotty…. really interested. My rationale is I really wouldn’t care if they booted me out of the country, or denied my entry, since I would want to leave anyway. What am I missing?

  2. I was in Manaus years ago for work. Really liked it, although more of an industrial town, but the River there is incredible. Very humid and wet due to the climate.

  3. @ Todd — Because they won’t let you board the flight for Brazil unless you have a visa. They verify you have a visa at check-in.

  4. @Lucky: just wondering; what languages do you speak? English, German? Spanish? Having two passports is useful, speaking two or three languages even more! What’s your experience with that?! Any languages you would like to learn?

  5. eliminating JFK->BRU.
    Replacing it with MIA-manaus. AA has the poorest coverage to Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa of all US based carriers. It’s time to invest in some more routes to the old world and not purely rely on the alliance. To Europe, the focus is so heavy on LHR. Why not fly to Berlin now that Air Berlin is in O/W?

  6. Lucky – speaking of German visa reciprocity, it still boggles my mind that most of Latin America, including Mexico, has visa waiver in the Schengen Area, but a developing country like Thailand, which i consider much more economically advanced, does not. I am sure the EU has its reasons, but curious as to why.

  7. @fumi – and of course there are no hookers in Latin America, well lots of em actually. Actually much of Asia does not have visa waiver to the Schengen Area. Just find it an interesting comparison.

  8. Actually many people find that 2-3 days in the Amazon is sufficient (in Manaus, the opera house is a must-see). But there’s a lot more to see in other parts of Brazil (the Pantanal is the largest wetland on the planet; it offers some of the finest wildlife viewing anywhere. And Iguazu Falls prompted Eleanor Roosevelt to comment “Poor Niagara”). So flying in to or out of Manaus as part of a circle trip or open jaw is well worth considering.

  9. If visiting Manaus, I suggest you thoroughly look into whether Brazilian customs also expects you to get a yellow fever vaccine prior to entry. Some of the more remote Brazilian states require this for tourists, though not Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, which is why most flyers never have to bother.

  10. I’m confused — the flight rules say “Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification or Million Miler status.”

    So the double mileage *CANNOT* be used as a mileage run.

    Am I wrong?

  11. @ claire — The double miles only count as redeemable miles and not elite qualifying miles. Different people define mileage runs different ways — some mileage run for elite status while others mileage run to earn redeemable miles. So here you’re earning the standard number of elite qualifying miles and bonus redeemable miles.

  12. Interesting — so what would the point of a mileage run be if you’re doing it for bonus redeemable miles? i.e. there wouldn’t be a time cap (like, I need to do this by 12/31/12, it’d be more just “this is a good deal to get miles?)

    ?

    love your blog, BTW

  13. I think your math is wrong on the ‘double’ miles promotion… it simply x2 the BASE flight miles, and not the bonus miles from being Exec Platinum. Thus 1000 flight miles = 3000 total miles with two double miles (EXP and promo), not 1000×4.

  14. I was backpacking S America in May/June and we made Manaus our base for the Amazon. Which works great for that, but in my opinion the city is pretty blah. The Amazon was phenominal and any travel company in town will take you on a 2-4 day trip for $200-300 USD. If you’re not trying to get down and dirty in the Amazon though, I wouldn’t go.

  15. @ claire — The goal would be earning miles towards award travel. It can still be a lot cheaper to mileage run than to outright pay for international first or business class.

    @ Eric — I just double checked my math and I believe that’s how I calculated it, no? Double base points, plus the Plat/EXP bonus if applicable.

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